Brain cancer could be cured using radioactive scorpion venom, scientists have claimed.
Neurotoxins in the sting of the Middle Eastern scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus contain a peptide that binds to some tumour cells.
In previous tests the molecule has invaded tumours in breast, skin, brain and lung tissue while leaving healthy cells untouched.
US researchers at the company TransMolecular in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have now attached radioactive iodine to the peptide. The aim is to see if it can be used to deliver lethal doses of radioactivity to cancers.
In a trial last year, the scientists injected the agent, called TM601, directly into the tumours of 59 people with inoperable brain cancer, New Scientist magazine reported.
All the patients have since died, but those receiving a higher dose lived an average of three months longer.
Recently researchers at the University of Chicago have started giving the treatment to patients with different types of malignant brain cancer.
The trial will test whether TM601 can kill secondary tumours throughout the body, as well as known primary ones, according to the New Scientist.
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